Monday, December 8, 2008

7 Facts To Help You Overcome Your Fear Of Firearms

In my travels, I meet quite a few people who desire to take my CCW/CPL Personal Protection Class but hesitate because of a fear of the firearm. It seems, that these prospective students have been conditioned to believe propaganda that distorts the truth about firearms. This article will dispel some commonly held beliefs about firearms in the minds of these future students.

Fact 1: A Gun Can't Hurt Anyone By Itself
Many people fear firearms because they have an irrational belief that a gun is inherently evil. Let's set the record straight - a gun is neither good or bad. It is simply a tool which can be used for good or evil purposes. A gun can't cause harm to anyone all by itself. In all the years I have been teaching firearm safety, I have yet to see a handgun jump off a counter and "do something" all by itself.

Fact 2: Guns Don't Just "Go Off."

It doesn't surprise me that many people believe that a handgun can just "go off" all by itself. This myth is perpetuated in the media whenever someone is unintentionally harmed by a handgun. The witness, speaking before the TV cameras, will say something to the effect of "the gun went off." Let the truth be told, guns can't be discharged by themselves. The only way that a handgun can be discharged is by its trigger being moved - either by a finger or another object in the trigger guard.

Fact 3: Guns Do Not Cause Crime
Many people like to blame guns for crime. A gun may be used to facilitate the commission of a crime, however, it does not cause the crime. A crime is caused by the criminal intent and subsequent actions of the criminal. A criminal with malevolent intent to perform a criminal act does not need a handgun.

Blaming a handgun for a robbery is like:
  • Blaming a match for an arson
  • Blaming a telephone for a ransom phone call
  • Blaming a car for drunk driving
  • Blaming a computer for hacking

Furthermore, there is ample evidence and research that proves that as more guns are present in a community, crime rates decrease. This is due to the fact that heavily armed areas present a hazardous working environment for criminals. This phenomenon has the added effect of also protecting unarmed persons because criminals have no idea as to who is armed or not.

Fact 4: Owning A Handgun Doesn't Make A Sane Person Crazy
A handgun is simply an object. It does not have any effect on the state of a person's mental fitness. A normal well-adjusted and mentally competent person will not become a deranged psychopath simply because he chose to exercise his Constitutional right to "keep and bear arms."

In contrast, a crazy gun-owner is just as crazy without a gun. If current laws on the books are enforced, persons with mental illnesses could not be able to acquire firearms. This failure of our system was best seen at work when Seung-Hui Cho, an individual who was previously adjudicated as mentally unsound by a court of law, killed 32 people at Virginia Tech.

Fact 5: Pistol-Free Zones Are Not Safe Locations
Many well-intentioned but misguided law-makers enact legislation that has the opposite effect. Many states have so-called "Pistol-Free Zones" where law abiding citizens can't carry handguns. However, the law fails to address how criminals will be forced to comply with the law. Criminals, by definition, break the law. In fact, many criminals ply their nefarious trade in these "safety zones" with impunity because they "know" that their victims will be unarmed.

Fact 6: Outlawing Guns Will Not Keep Them Out Of The Hands Of Criminals
Many people advocate the outright abolition of firearms, despite the existence of the Constitution. Their rationale is that if guns are outlawed then nobody could be shot or assaulted with a firearm. Once again, criminals do not obey the law. They would still be able to acquire guns - through illegal means just as they do today. Disarming law-abiding citizens would mean two things: criminals would commit robberies without fear while armed and that only the police would have guns. Both scenarios are equally chilling.

Fact 7: If Fundamental Gun Safety Rules Are Followed, Nothing Bad Can Happen
There are five fundamental gun safety rules. If they are obeyed nothing bad can happen. They are listed as the following:
  • Always Treat A Firearm As If It Is Loaded
  • Always Keep A Gun Pointed In A Safe Direction
  • Always Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready To Shoot
  • Always Keep Your Gun Unloaded Until It Is In Use
  • Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Beyond It

A new gun owner can learn these fundamental rules under the guidance of a credible fireams instructor.

Bottom line: violent criminals are here to stay. There will only be more of them on the streets as they are released early to ease governmental budgetary constraints. Criminals have no qualms about using firearms to get what they want: your personal property, your dignity, and maybe your life. Get over your irrational fear of guns and protect yourself; the police can try but they can't.

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